What the bully doesn’t realize

Illustration of girl on her mobile phone

Avni was a teenager. She led a normal student life with loving and caring parents and friends who were like family to her. She wasn’t very popular in school. She didn’t talk to many people but had a few close friends whom she knew she could always trust.

She was a very happy girl, a little bit clumsy at times, a little childish, but everyone loved her for who she was. But little did she know that there was someone who didn’t like her.

It all started with a message on her phone telling her “Stop”. Avni was confused. She replied, “I’m sorry, maybe you have the wrong number?”

After a few days there was another message: “You are Avni. I have the right number.”

Avni thought it was a friend from school so she replied, “May I have your name, please? And I don’t understand what you mean by ‘stop’.”

The reply came, “Stop being who you are.”

Avni was confused. She decided to ignore the number. But the messages didn’t stop; they increased day by day and became worse. The person told her that she didn’t deserve to be happy, she didn’t deserve nice friends, she was very weird, and she should stop acting like she was the happiest person on earth.

All this hurt Avni very much. She stopped smiling, started avoiding her friends, and started crying a lot. She felt alone. She didn’t realize it but slowly she started changing. She stopped wearing the clothes she liked and changed the way she spoke. It was becoming too much to handle for her.

She didn’t tell her parents because she thought they wouldn’t understand or listen to her.

Her friends noticed this peculiar change in her behaviour. They tried talking to her and asked her what was wrong, but she just got angry. Her friends decided to remind her of the happy moments they spent together in classes or sleepovers where Avni made everyone laugh. Avni thought they were making fun of her so she suddenly burst into tears and ran away from them.

When her friends realized what was happening to Avni, they decided to tell her parents. But they asked her parents to let them help Avni.

They went to Avni’s room. She was sitting on her bed crying. Her friends went to her and gave her a huge hug. They felt so bad for not having been able to help her earlier. They all sat there and let Avni speak. They sat with her for hours, just letting her cry and talk.

And that was when Avni realized that she did not have to care about what a stranger thought of her. Her friends wanted to take revenge on the person, but she stopped them, telling them that she could handle it.

She took her phone and went to the chat app that had become her most frequently visited app. She typed, “Thank you for helping me realize I have very nice friends. Thank you for taking so much interest in my life. You have helped me grow strong, but I am who I am and you cannot do anything about it.”

She got a reply: “I was just jealous.”

Avni never received a message from the number again.

That day, as she looked at her friends and family, she knew for certain that they would always be there for her. That much was a given.

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Nimra Mariyam Patel
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Nimra Mariyam Patel

Nimra Mariyam Patel (15) is a student of St Agnes School, Bendore, Mangalore.